There’s been a 200 percent increase in the use of live webcasting for company town hall meetings in the last two years. Why? Live webcasts are a cost-effective and convenient way to extend the meeting to a national or global audience.

Here are five tips to help ensure your next town hall webcast goes off without a hitch.

1. Make it easily accessible.

Choose the distribution channel(s) that make sense for your audience. Facebook and YouTube provide free streaming with a lot of ways to share socially. While they do allow some ability to make the stream private, they may not be appropriate for sensitive content. A more secure way to lock down a webcast is through a gated web page. Video conferencing tools like Zoom and GoToMeeting can be good ways to add interactivity to your webcast.

Bottom line is to make access to the webcast as easy and frictionless as possible. And of course, make sure to promote the webcast well in advance through whatever means available.

2. Remember your online audience.

Sometimes, presenters forget that there’s an audience beyond the room they’re in. Be sure to welcome your online audience and acknowledge them throughout the meeting. If there will be an audience Q&A, have a mechanism in place for the online audience to take part. Make sure verbal questions are audible by having attendees use a microphone.

Audio is sometimes overlooked. Keep in mind that even though people in the room may hear everything that’s going on, the online audience may not. Consider all the audio sources. For example, if you plan to show a video, make sure there will be an audio feed for the webcast.

3. Have adequate camera coverage.

Typically, you’ll want at least three cameras to cover the meeting. The “A” camera will stay close up on the presenter. The “B” camera will be a wide shot that shows the stage and audience. The “C” camera faces the audience to capture applause and questions.

There can be situations where more cameras are warranted. For example, you may have someone hand signing for ADA compliance. You’ll want to have a dedicated camera on that person. If there are two presenters, you’ll want to have a camera dedicated to each person. Likewise, if there is going  to be a demonstration or activity on stage, you may want a camera for that. Go through the run of show with your webcast producer to determine the right number and placement of cameras.

4. Consider the visuals.

Between 25 and 50 percent of your online audience will be watching the webcast on a screen that’s less than five inches wide. The practical implication is that graphics such as charts and graphs must be uncluttered and have oversized typography. Resist the urge to use existing PowerPoint slides. They may look fine on a desktop screen, but they aren’t suitable for a webcast. Rebuild them with an eye toward simplicity.

Also consider the lighting in the venue. The human eye is more forgiving of uneven lighting than cameras are. There should not be more than three stops of difference between the brightest and darkest areas in the room. (If you’re not sure what that means, ask a photo bug friend.)

Presenters should choose camera-friendly outfits to wear. Solids are best; avoid intricate designs like houndstooth. Midtones are better than black or white. On a more aesthetic level, provide some dress code guidance to ensure people are dressed appropriately for the event. You’d be surprised at what some people show up wearing.

5. Archive it after the event.

Be sure to record the webcast so you can post an archive after the event for on-demand viewing. It’s good practice to have the archive up and running within two hours after the event ends.

As a safety, you might want to consider having each camera record its own feed separately (“running iso”) so you can rebuild the edited program if necessary.

It’s often a good idea to edit down key portions of the event into standalone snippets. That makes it easier for someone to find content they’re looking for. It can also be a good way to “tease” the full program.

An image of a town hall meeting, to illustrate a post on town hall meeting webcast tips.

Allied Pixel provides complete live webcasting services for town hall meetings. Please give us a call if we can help with your next event.

Bill Haley

P.S. Have a question about video? Let me know and I’ll try to answer it in a future post.